Wednesday, March 20, 2013


Like many of you I've been following the Steubenville rape case and was relieved that the two defendants were found guilty on Sunday morning.

But then, something disturbing started emerging in the media's commentary and on social media. We began seeing rape apologists {warning: this will make you PISSED} and reporters sympathizing with the rapists with little to no mention of the victim. Are you angry yet?

I've alluded to the fact that I am also a victim of sexual assault, but I've never told my story. I think now is the right time.

I was 19, at home on summer break from college. My best friend's parents were out of town and she was throwing a party. I had been sort-of dating a guy I went to high school with, but he had become quite aggressive on our last date and I had begun to suspect that he might be using drugs. So, I was a little nervous about seeing him at the party that night, and had actually called and invited my ex-boyfriend (who I was still friendly with, and who was also friends with him) because I thought I would be safer if he was there. But he couldn't come. Thinking back...should have just gone with my gut and stayed home.

That night, I drank too much. I am well aware that this was a mistake. I should never have had so many drinks, especially since I was so uneasy. BUT. That doesn't make the fact that shortly after my best friend put me to sleep upstairs in her bedroom (2 floors away from the party in the basement) and closed the door behind her he came into her room and raped me while I was passed out. I said "No". I tried to move away but was too drunk to function. My best friend walked in while it was happening, yelled, and he ran out of the house and drove off.

When I woke up I couldn't remember much, but bits and pieces came back to me over the next few hours, days, weeks. I was in a state of shock for quite some time. I mustered up the courage to tell my older sister, and with her support, later my parents. They wanted to go to the police right away. I begged them to let me decide for myself in my own time. I was a mess; I don't think I showered for days or did much other than sit in my room, feeling numb. I saw a psychiatrist when I returned to school and tried a few different depression medications but nothing seemed to make me feel better. I lost most of my friends and ended up in a borderline-emotionally abusive relationship.

It took me a few months, but I did file a police report and spoke with the District Attorney on a number of occasions. Reliving that night over and over again was not conducive to my mental health at the time, but it was important to my parents to see this through so I did it. The DA informed me that we had a good chance at indictment because I was a "high quality victim". What did that mean? I'm from an upper middle class family, was attending college on scholarship, and was my high school class's Salutatorian. Oh. Because that apparently matters in a rape trial. ::eyeroll:: Those words, and the cynicism they elicited from me at age 19, will stay with me for the rest of my life.

3 years after I first reported it, my case went before the Grand Jury. Despite witness testimony and the apology e-mail I received from my rapist the previous summer (that's a story for another day), my case was dismissed. The DA told me that one of the Grand Jurors said in response to the case, "that sounds like something my son would do and then apologize afterwards." Well, ASSFACE, then your son is a rapist. Yes, I'm angry that he wasn't indicted. But even worse -- I'm so sad for everyone out there who isn't a "high quality victim". What chance do they have in getting justice?

It's a travesty that our society teaches girls not to get raped rather than teaching boys not to rape. Don't wear revealing clothing, don't flirt, don't drink...instead of DON'T EFFING RAPE. And when it happens? Blaming the victim, saying she had it coming or got what she deserved for any of the above reasons...

Would we say a murder victim deserved it because he made his killer angry?

Would we blame someone for getting robbed because they are generous in giving to charity?

Moms and Dads, this begins with us. We need to teach our children bodily integrity and that it applies to everyone. And just as importantly, we need to tell them to speak up and out if they ever see it happening to someone else. Let's instill empathy in our children, and work to end this rape culture and widespread victim blaming.

As soon as I think they are mature enough to understand and handle my story, I will tell my girls. They need to know it can and does happen to too many of us. Although I hope that the tide will have turned by the time that they are teenagers, and that our society will have finally placed the blame where it lies...with the rapists, not the victims.

It's not your fault. You owe him nothing. Speak out.
NO MORE is using a powerful new symbol to unleash national attention on an issue that impacts 12.7 million of us every year. That’s 24 people every minute. Many people think that domestic violence and sexual assault don’t affect them, but they’re wrong. These are people that we know. They’re our mothers, girlfriends, brothers, sisters, children, co-workers and friends. These issues are massive but they’re still very hidden and misunderstood.

It’s time to change that.

I’m saying NO MORE to domestic violence and sexual assault by using this symbol and sharing it. I hope you will too.

Together we can end domestic violence and sexual assault. I encourage you to share your story.

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